Report: ‘Expect’ Steelers to keep Emmanuel Sanders

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It may be a little early to start wondering what number Emmanuel Sanders will wear in New England.

ESPN’s Ed Werder reported Wednesday that he expects the Steelers to match the Patriots’ offer sheet to Sanders, keeping the wide receiver in the fold.

Werder, it should also be noted, said that the Steelers’ lack of cap space, plus the prospect of getting the Patriots’ third-round pick, are factors that also should be considered in Pittsburgh’s decision to match or not.

Were the Steelers to decline to match the offer to Sanders, they would receive the No. 91 pick. While this would be a cost-efficient move, it would also leave the Steelers rather thin at wide receiver behind top target Antonio Brown. The Steelers lost Mike Wallace to Miami earlier in free agency, and Sanders is expected to move into the starting lineup after three seasons as a reserve.

Sanders hauled in 44 passes for 626 yards and one TD in 16 games (seven starts) for Pittsburgh in 2012. No matter where he plays in 2013, Sanders looks like a good bet to get more opportunities in the passing game than he ever has.

Werder’s tweet suggests that the fourth-year wideout from SMU isn’t going anywhere, which figures to make Ben Roethlisberger happy.

48 responses to “Report: ‘Expect’ Steelers to keep Emmanuel Sanders

  1. I think the 3rd rounder has to be tempting for the Steelers, but having that many new WRs will really hurt their offense. The QB & WR relationship takes time to develop as they have to see the same things pre-snap. Having that many new faces for Ben will set them back.

  2. Conspiracy theory: If the Steelers are so thin at WR they are forced to match, what if this whole thing was a way to just screw with them? Forcing the Steelers to pay more for one of their own prevents them from spending elsewhere. They do play each other this upcoming season.

  3. If I were Pitt I’d let Sanders leave. He fumbles and drops too many easy passes.

    This team seems to always find good WR talent through the draft. After all, they did get Mike Wallace with a 3rd rounder and Brown with a 6th in recent years.

  4. bigj, the Steelers don’t need a ton of cap room if the Patriorts didn’t go wild with their offer.

    If we are to believe Florio, then this is a sure sign that owners are colluding with RFA. They marched out a lowball offer from the Pats, a team likely to lowball, and can point to that as how there is activity in the market.

    Here in the real world, after a season that included fumbles at pivitol moments in big games and injuries, Sanders actual value is somewhere between the third round and second round tenders. The Steelers tried to get away with one by offering the lower number and are going to have to up it by a few hundred thousand to keep him.

  5. Steelers are $2 million under the cap. They could match the offer, if they even want to, simply by restructuring Heath Miller or Ike Taylor. The question is, would they rather have the 3rd round draft pick, which they could use to draft a WR like Stedman Bailey for 4 years, rather than “rent” Sanders for 1 year.

  6. Patriots are putting the screws to the Steelers and I love it. If Sanders does indeed stay, expect the Steeler fans to clamor that he is a sensational WR who will no longer be injury-prone. If he does sign with NE, he’s apparently expendable and they’re better off with an unproven 3rd rd (call it 4th rd) draft pick. Either way, I’ll be laughing the whole time watching the Ravens run away with the division as usual. Cheers!

  7. It will be interesting to see how they do it. With only 2.5MM under the cap right now and their entire rookie class to sign, it would take some SERIOUS reshuffling of contracts to make the room necessary to match even a $3MM offer…..and to what cost down the road. Backloading a lot of deal only means having cap problems down the road. That’s not the Steeler way.

    I know there are a lot of Pats fans who are hoping the Steelers match. I have very mixed emotions myself. I just don’t see how they can do and no hurt themselves long term.

  8. I wonder if the Steelers could match the 1 yr offer, then sometime before the season, sign him to a multi-year extension?

  9. The Steelers matching the offer could give the Pats a better shot at their guy in the draft. I like the Pats strategy on this one regardless of how it ends up.

  10. People forget that Colon frees up $5 mill on June 1, long before they have to negotiate rookie contracts. So the whole ~$2.5m they have right now is expendable.

    Its all about the offer. If its $2m they have no trouble matching that price if they want to. If its $4, thanks for the 3rd round pick NE.

    My opinion remains, take the third rounder and the $1.3m it saves and move on.

  11. Steelers get another 5 million in cap space after June 1 with the release of Willie Colon, which will be used to sign their rookies.

  12. They still have the money coming from cutting Willie Colon for the draft picks. I would rather have the draft pick if this was last year, but it is not. Not only is the wr corps thin but Miller will probably be out early in the season. Who will Ben throw to?

  13. As a Steelers fan, I’ve never been impressed with Sanders. We keep hearing “potential” but it’s yet to materialize. Honestly, I’d be thrilled with the 3rd, in addition to him not using up the cap space, in exchange for Sanders. Yes, that leaves us with even more of a whole at WR, but I agree with others that you can get the same or better production from a rookie draft pick (I’d love Ryan Swope) at a cheaper price.

  14. I can only assume that ben#################something something 7 is changing his soiled underwear is some remote spot.

  15. So, it”s rent a player for a year? Or let him just taste the feeling That other good franchises are already interested. So, let him play a full healthy year with a good season? And then he wants big money . No way! Take the developmental 3rd rounder. We need to start building on the next 4 to 6 years of Skilled and up and coming contracts on Offense. For the reason Ben just turned 31. And I’m not talking about Sanders talent. I’m talking future money purposes. So, we shall see? Waiting to see how this pans out?

  16. I find it interesting that these teams that “build through the draft” are up against it with the cap. Especially since all the experts who comment here say it’s the teams who are strong in free agency (because they have cap space) are the only ones facing “cap hell”. The bottom line is, it’s how the contracts are structured more than the totals of them. Hey, just don’t overpay for that 6th rounder LOL.

  17. axltcu says: Apr 10, 2013 12:20 PM

    “Conspiracy theory: If the Steelers are so thin at WR they are forced to match, what if this whole thing was a way to just screw with them? Forcing the Steelers to pay more for one of their own prevents them from spending elsewhere. They do play each other this upcoming season.”

    Makes a lot of sense, but not really a conspiracy theory at all. No one is “conspiring” with the Patriots, it would just be them sticking it to a conference rival.

  18. Please, People act like this is a big blow to the steelers receiving core. I’d take a 3rd round pick if he leaves. Its a win-win for the steelers either way whether he leaves or stays. Personally, if he did leave it opens the door for Tavon Austin if he becomes available but as reported I expect him to stay.

  19. THe Steelers get more cap space after June 1 because of the Colon and Harrison releases. Just a tidbit for the obvious trolls in here who thnk the Steelers wont have $$$ to sign their draft picks.

  20. So, it’s simple Haters. We either keep a receiver who had 44 catches for 627 yds last season in 7 games. that’s almost an average of a 100yds a game. With a Wallace,Miller,Brown beside him. He plays a full year?That’s an 80+ reception year with a 1,000+ yards last year. And probably 5TD”s. That’s all as a number 3 and slot receiver. He is a slot receiver. Not a number 2. Belicheck loves the slots with the short and dink passes.. So, If Bill wants him? That should say something. Bill is the decider in new England . They are trying to replace a receiver in Welker. Who was just on another level in that offense. So, it should say something that Bill wants him in that offense. filling some pretty big shoes. So, now It’s either we get a 3rd round pick?And any NFL fan knows the first 3 rounds are huge. So, we win either way. But, if we keep him? Might as well just try to lock him up. And find a 2 in the draft. So, all Steelers fans. Should look as this to be the best thing to look at so far in the off season. Young Money!

  21. Couple of thoughts:

    1. Just because the Steelers would get the Pats 3rd round pick, doesn’t mean they have to wait until the 3rd round to pick a WR. They can replace Sanders with a 1st or 2nd round pick. Plenty of top quality WR’s there.

    2. If they choose to match the offer, they are currently $2 million under the cap. Add Sander’s tender offer of $1.3 million to that, and they only have to come up with 700k if Sander’s offer from the Pats is $4 million. They can get that by releasing Cotchery (1 mil), or pulling Redman’s tender offer (1.3 mil).

    I just see the Steelers giving more value to the 3rd round pick and the 4 year contract that comes with it.

  22. The problem with emmanuel sanders is he is a soft football player and he is a wr who hears footsteps coming.

  23. 4m alot just to put the Steelers on the ropes..Cotchery is better anyway..Better hands..Better routes..Holds on to the ball and isn’t injury prone.

  24. I cannot be more excited about a receiver who caught ONE touchdown pass last season.
    Yep, ole’ Emmanuel’s gonna hard to replace.

    Actually, I’m still trying to figure how having Roethlisberger guarantees instant success, as was pointed out by several in a previous thread.
    For the past two seasons, the Steelers’ offense has ranked 22nd in scoring, while the Steelers’ scoring defense has ranked 1st and 4th, respectively.
    Which is better:
    Or top-five?

  25. one year deal is just maneuvering. They’ll make it to big for pitt to match and then sign him to an extension later. Only way it makes sense for the Pats.

  26. @gochargersgo

    I just added that in jest because people tend to accuse the Pats/Belichick of shady business tactics, whether they’re in the realm of the rule book or not.

  27. One touchdown per year average wont be hard to replace! THIS REALLY SPELLS DOOM for the Steelers! Give me the draft pick

  28. They’re gonaa have to do more restructuring (by the time to sign draft picks or sooner), so it looks like at least 2 more yrs in ‘cap jail’.

  29. Any Steeler that signs with Pats – let them go. Traitors. Pats are cheating losers who the NFL gifted titles and changes rules to help. Sanders go play with Tommy the Turd.

  30. DONT know why all the non Steeler fans consider this some kind of CONSPIRACY? Or some Grand plan to put the Steelers in panic mode.. if Colbert is dumb enough to restructure one more damn contract to keep this Guy he needs to be fired. It’s really not that serious.If anything its gona free up that #17 pick to get the player they really want/need. Thank You to the Patriots Front office!

  31. Patriots are putting the screws to the Steelers and I love it. If Sanders does indeed stay, expect the Steeler fans to clamor that he is a sensational WR who will no longer be injury-prone. If he does sign with NE, he’s apparently expendable and they’re better off with an unproven 3rd rd (call it 4th rd) draft pick. Either way, I’ll be laughing the whole time watching the Ravens run away with the division as usual. Cheers!

    Hey meat head, the only things ravens run away from is a murder scene…and McLain never stabbed anyone. You have a lot to be proud of .

  32. Nofool must have drooled all over those newspaper articles in which it was reported that there was NO MURDER. But he’s funny. Know what else is funny? Ravens/Pats AFC Championship Games 2014.

  33. morganstan100 | Apr 10, 2013, 12:46 PM EDT
    If I were a Steelers fan, this latest news would drive me to drink like a champion today.

    We drink as champions whenever we drink spankie. We have experienced this stuff before and know only raven fans win Super Bowls in April ….nothing drives me to drink I prefer to walk.

  34. Sanders numbers from last year: 44 catches for 626 yards (14.2 avg.), 1 touchdown, lost 2 fumbles and dropped 3 passes. He also averaged 10.2 yards on 9 punt returns and returned 1 kickoff for 27 yards.

    T.Y. Hilton of the Indianapolis Colts, last year’s 92nd pick of the draft numbers from last year as a rookie: 50 catches for 861 yards (17.2 avg.), 7 touchdowns, didn’t fumble, and averaged 11.5 yards returning punts and 16.9 yards returning kickoffs.

    So by the numbers and the fact this year is deep at WR, I would like to thank BB, take the 3rd round pick and the extra 1.3 million and run!

  35. I think Manny will stay- there is something to be said for continuity…the contract is for 2.5 million for one year apparently-not prohibitive at all- and as a #2 he could easily put up much better numbers than last year.

    but if he doesnt stay, that simply means that the Steelers didnt value him that much, which means the Pats are the team giving away a draft pick for another team’s castoff, not unlike Ocho, Haynesworth…and then they are left with only 4 picks in the draft, two of them 7th rounders.

    Either way, the Steelers are in the Catbird seat here.

  36. I would love a third round draft pick in this year’s draft. This draft is loaded with talent in the middle rounds. We are reloading from the past champion teams we had. This team will not be in as bad as shape everyone thinks. Especially if we get a good rb and a good wr and retool the defense with some linebackers to put some pressure on the qb. We hate to see you go Sanders you are a Steeler for life in Steelers nations eyes. This may end up being a tough decision for the Steelers to make.

  37. what if this whole thing was a way to just screw with them?

    Improve yourself and theoretically weaken a conference opponent. If it works, it’s a double win.

    I would bet Bill wouldn’t be doing this deal if it were an NFC team.

  38. I say take the Third Round Draft pick and lets go out and dominate this draft. Tons of great prospects and talent in this middle rounds heavy draft. We have several positions we need to reload, so a third rounder would help tremendously. Thanks Pats and go Steelers

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